Sunday, October 17, 2004

Among the bad news -- a ray of light

The New York Times > Health > Malaria Vaccine Proves Effective
... The vaccine, tested on thousands of children in Mozambique, was hardly perfect: It protected them from catching the disease only about 30 percent of the time and prevented it from becoming life-threatening only about 58 percent of the time.

But because malaria kills more than a million people a year, 700,000 of them children, even partial protection would be a public health victory. The disease, caused by a parasite carried by mosquitoes, is found in 90 countries, and drug-resistant strains are spreading.

Dr. Allan Schapira, strategy coordinator for the Roll Back Malaria campaign at the World Health Organization, said the trial was "good news, and definitely of great interest for malaria control."

The director of the Malaria Vaccine Initiative, which is underwriting tests on 15 experimental vaccines with money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said the GlaxoSmithKline product tried in Mozambique was now its leading candidate and had proved that the concept worked.

ONLY 58% reduction in life threatening disease?!! If this holds up with limited toxicity, Bill Gates will win the Nobel Peace Prize while the vaccine developers will win the Nobel in Medicine.

This is huge. Ok, so it's an early study with small numbers. Maybe too soon to light the fireworks. Still, the Carnegie-Mellons salvaged some honor by their good works. Gates intends to exceed past tyrants of capitalism in both capitalistic savagery and post-triumph generosity.

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